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Know Thyself

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CWR Building Wealth – Know Thyself

By Dwight Harshaw, BBA, Personal Finance Counselor


Dwight Harshaw, BBA

Dwight Harshaw, BBA

I was watching an Oprah rerun one afternoon when Iyanla Vanzant was her guest. I would describe Iyanla as a personal-spiritual empowerment guru. During the 1990s my wife and I purchased several of her books and recordings-for ourselves and others-and attended some of her lectures which were very helpful for personal growth, clarity and empowerment. In addition to being an author and lecturer, she is an ordained minister, attorney and a past featured expert on Oprah. At the height of her popularity, Iyanla landed her own television talk show. For her, the last decade of the 20th century was financially rewarding.


Since then, Iyanla has suffered devastating personal and financial setbacks. She lost her beloved daughter to cancer, her marriage to the love of her life dissolved, the television show was cancelled, and she lost her fortune which is the area of my focus. How did it happen? She told Oprah that losing her money was the result of, “being a millionaire with a ghetto mentality.” She lost her money because her attitude about finance did not change with her neighborhood.   Before she had money, she spent all she earned. It took all she earned to live from week to week. When she became wealthy she continued living that way. The only relationship she had with money was spending it.


What happened to Iyanla happens all the time however we marvel at those who have the farthest to fall. Her mistake was not paying attention to where her money was going and not watching the people that allowed her to fall. It is important to always know your current financial condition. If she had practiced that, she would not have spent money on a building instead of paying her taxes which led to the unraveling of her empire.


To know where you stand currently, simply gather and organize all of your financial information. That would include all things financial i.e.; check stubs, tax returns employee benefit information, insurance (all types), credit cards bills, mortgages, student loans, auto loans, retirement plans, and living expenses, just to name a few. Look at it, analyze it and determine if what you’re doing is in sync with your goals. If it isn’t, then you will have to make adjustments. Adjustments could be living by a budget, selling an asset or getting a second job.


You should always know your current financial condition if you want to be financially secure. Based on your condition you will be able to use the information to make wise decisions about your future.  If you find that this step is difficult for you, seek counsel from someone who has demonstrated financial wisdom or a financial planner that you feel comfortable with. It is important to know what you use your money for.


Iyanla will rise again financially because she is still a sought after speaker who has another powerful healing message to deliver. She will likely make a second fortune and keep it.  


About Dwight Harshaw:  Dwight Harshaw is a personal finance counselor and writer. He is also a Realtor with Access Realty, Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has a BBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in Finance with emphasis on financial planning.

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